Court hears appeal of woman convicted in son's death
By Robin Y. Richardson firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb. 16, 2012 at 11 p.m.
MARSHALL - Arguments in the appeal of a Cass County woman sentenced to life in prison without parole for the death of her son began here Wednesday before the Sixth Court of Appeals.
Cynthia Hudson was found guilty in December 2010 of the Dec. 3, 2008, murder of her 14-year-old adopted son, Samuel Hudson.
The case was moved from Cass County to Harrison County because of pretrial publicity.
Hudson's attorney, Troy Hornsby, said Wednesday that there was no evidence presented in the trial that proved his client intentionally killed the teen. He said the court should given the jury an option of convicting Hudson on manslaughter charges, a lesser offense.
"Capital murder requires intent," Hornsby said.
Although Hudson admitted her involvement in a suicide note she wrote after her son's death, "in nowhere did it explicitly address intent," he said.
He said she used the term "murder," but "I'm not sure it is an admission of anything other than its specific intent," he said. He said when people use the term murder, they may not be really admitting to every element of the offense of the Texas law.
"It's clear that the intent was punishment," he said, saying Hudson indicated in the suicide note what happened.
"That note has a line, and the line is that 'at 2:30, whipped Samuel – he peed on carpet.'
"That is the only direct evidence we have from Cynthia Hudson as to why she did this," Hornsby said. "There's your intent. It's evidence of punishment."
Hornsby said Hudson's suicide note established that she committed manslaughter – not intentional murder.
Officials also said Hudson kidnapped her son in the course of committing murder because she used zip ties to bind his hands and feet.
Hornsby said he doesn't think that should be considered kidnapping.
"If she has possession of her own child at home, and she uses zip ties to tie up the child … you say that's evidence of kidnapping? It can't be considered because she is taking legal action that she is entitled to as the parent of the child," he said.
Cass County District Attorney Clint Allen contended that Hudson did kidnap her son.
"The state's position on the kidnapping issue is that when the defendant confined the victim to the room, she utilized the zip ties and then she began utilizing deadly force," said Allen.
"We do think it meets the legal requirements for a kidnapping because she did restrain his liberty by both the zip ties and by using deadly force where she utilized up to six weapons including a baseball bat."
Allen said the injuries caused by the weapons "weakened him to such a degree that he was unable to escape, to call for any help."
"He had broken bones from the use of these weapons, so after the appellate had used each of these weapons on him … he was stuck in that room zip-tied. He could not escape. He could not summon medical treatment."